Proposed Vancouver Island pot farm could be Canada's 'largest'

A B.C. businessman is planning on building one of the largest pot farms in Canada near Saanich. But as Neetu Garcha reports, not everyone is happy about it.

A Vancouver Island community could soon play host to a sprawling pot production facility on a Central Saanich dairy farm.

But some neighbours, who once dealt with a stinky composting operation in the very same place, aren’t too happy about it being located there.

Coverage of marijuana on

The Victoria-based Evergreen Medicinal Supply Inc. wants to build a 21-greenhouse marijuana growing facility on more than 14 hectares at Stanhope Dairy Farm.

The facility would be Evergreen’s second, and it would allow the company to “embrace future markets, no matter how large they are.”

Through it, Evergreen hopes to grow marijuana year-round, and provide 1,500 jobs.

“I think at this point we’ll be the largest in Canada,” Evergreen CEO Shawn Galbraith told Global News.

But the facility has been a tough sell for neighbouring residents, who still have memories of the compost operation, and who are concerned that the greenhouses will cover agricultural land.

“This will take away completely the opportunity for the new generations to come to do something with the land, only then in the greenhouse,” said neighbour Frans Wikel, a pig farmer who has lived next door to Stanhope Dairy Farm for over 50 years.

“The greenhouse you can put anywhere.”

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Galbraith said Evergreen would tackle scent issues early on.

He said noise issues have been raised with regard to the facility, but “these operations are relatively quiet,” he assured.”

The facility does not require approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

Evergreen will, however, seek a permit from the District of Central Saanich to move dirt and start construction next week.

Health Canada has approved the first phase of the project, and Evergreen hopes to put shovels in the ground in the spring, and have plants growing by the fall.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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